Life continues to be busy for me as I juggle the wedding planning, training for a marathon, work and my blogging hobby. We also just got a kitten from the animal shelter (pictured below)! Her name is Maple and she’s super friendly and getting along quite well with our dog Maddie. Recently, I have been overwhelmed with several time sensitive things on my plate, and have been thinking about how I have been navigating life’s challenges. There has been a lot for me to process in the past year. So, I’d like to take a little time today to share some reflections.
Reflecting on the past seems automatic to me during the Fall. I’m not sure if it has to do with October being my birthday month, the changing weather or the approaching holidays signaling the upcoming year’s end. Whatever it is, I have been doing a lot of reflecting! The past year was characterized by major downs, major ups, a lot of change and a lot of lessons. I would like to open up and share this time in my life with you. I think it is important to not just share all the great things going on in one’s life. So, my hope is that you may relate to some of the highlights, the struggles, the changes or the lessons I have learned. Here we go!
Navigating Life’s Challenges
I am not one to dwell too much on negative things, so I think it’s best to get this part done first. One major challenge I faced earlier this year was watching my fiance Will injure himself doing something he loves — racing his motorcycle. Of course, I did not have the physical pain that Will had to deal with. But, it was very scary and difficult to see someone you love get hurt and not knowing if he was ok. Will broke his collarbone in multiple pieces, which required surgery. I was quickly consumed with trying to help him get better and heal. Will’s recovery has been longer than we expected. I also did not realize just how connected your collarbone is to everything else. It’s been difficult to see him unable to be his active self throughout the past few months.
Now to the other big challenge I faced, which was surfacing this time last year. I was struggling in a unfulfilling job, feeling undervalued at work, applying for new positions and looking for an exit. I was also still holding on to a hope that maybe, just maybe, the internal problems in my work environment would work themselves out.
I was wrong. Days before Thanksgiving, I was let go from my job of five years. It was a major blow to my confidence. It was hard to turn around from that and tell job seekers why I would be a great employee for them. I was able to get a new job pretty quickly, but unfortunately it did not turn out to be the right fit. In hindsight, I wonder if I would have accepted that job if I was still employed. I’ll never know. What I do know is that I knew I had made the wrong job choice about one month into the new job. Simply put, the work was not exciting and I did not have the ability to do the type of work I thought I would.
During this time, I had a couple breakdowns, which Will graciously helped me recover from. I don’t know how I would have been able to keep going without him. I questioned my career path. I questioned my capabilities. Eventually, I came to the realization that we spend SO MUCH of our waking hours at work, and I (we all!) deserve to be happy during those hours. With support from family and friends (and some validation that I was not crazy), I began looking for new jobs.
Originally, I jumped into a job at the beginning of the year that was not quite the right fit for me. The day-to-day work was not fulfilling and not what I had envisioned doing in my career. I felt crazy at first for feeling this way, and I wondered if I was just being too picky with my career. I gathered the courage to try for something else, and pretty quickly the stars aligned.
It felt like the universe was affirming my decision to fight for what I wanted in a job. Someone saw the value I could add to their team and appreciated my skills. Now, my new(ish) job gives me the ability to truly showcase my communications skills and be part of a wide range of projects and goals. While it challenges me daily, it also gives me confidence and reaffirms a lot of the things about myself that I questioned at the beginning of the year. I am so grateful that my career challenges turned into something I can now celebrate. They gave me a better perspective on what matters in a job, and how change can be not only normal, but healthy.
Now, the most defining and exciting day of the past year is an easy one to choose. It was April 2. On that day, Will and I got engaged. It was a perfect surprise and a truly wonderful way to kickoff our shared desire to build a life together. The happiness that I have experienced with Will remains unparalleled. His steadfast support and encouragement, especially through the low parts of my career changes have been invaluable and reassuring. I feel so lucky and often so undeserving of his love.
Throughout this past year, it has been so exciting to dream about our future together and think about what kind of life we want to have in five, ten and twenty years from now. Knowing he will be there with me through all difficult days, the boring days and the happy days to come makes my heart feel so full. There is a lot to plan still in terms of the wedding, but this is truly an exciting time for us. It has been a lot of fun to share it with our family and friends, too. I am just trying to soak it all up!
I have more to say, but will continue my reflections in another post. In a few days, I will share the changes I have encountered. I’ll also share the lessons I have learned from all the challenges and positive things going on.
Stay tuned and let me know if you have had similar ups and downs in your life. What’s been the most exciting or most difficult part of the past year for you? I would love to hear all about it!
P.S. Here are outfit details for my look in this post.